Are Tablets Dead?

May 11, 2016 by  
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There more evidence that tablets were never the game-changer that Steve Jobs tried to peddle them as, and were just the keyboardless netbooks we said they were.

IDC siad that for the first quarter of 2016, overall worldwide tablet shipments fell to 39.6 million, a 14.7 percent drop from the same period a year ago,  However the only part of the segment which did ok were tablets with keyboards – or as we used to call them, netbooks.

IDC said that the decline of ordinary tablets was partly due to traditional first-quarter slumps but also a complete lack of interest on the part of customers.

Traditional tablets accounted for 87.6 percent of all tablet shipments. But tablets that come with detachable keyboards increased of more than 4.9 million units last quarter. That was a gain of 120 percent from the same period last year and an all-time high for tablets with detachable keyboards.

Tablets are dying because more people are buying big-screened phones as an alternative. You remember Fablets? They were what Steve Jobs claimed would never work because they prefered smaller smartphones or bigger tablets. In fact he was talking rubbish and was trying to keep his keyboardless netbook idea going.

IDC said that the newer tablets don’t offer enough new features to entice people to upgrade. After all tablets were always looking for an app which made them useful, which never arrived.

To counteract the downturn, more manufacturers are turning to tablets with detachable keyboards that can thus serve as laptops – on otherwords returning to the netbooks that the Tablets were said to replace.

“With the PC industry in decline, the detachable market stands to benefit as consumers and enterprises seek to replace their aging PCs with detachables,” IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement.

Apple saw its shipments and market share drop but remained in first place. Apple’s latest 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the new 256GB storage option for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro are “healthy additions” to the lineup, IDC said. Samsung also saw its shipments and market share decline. Though the Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup is still popular, its detachable TabPro S is dead in the water thanks to its $900 price tag.

Amazon has found success with its starting-at-$49 Fire, showing that consumers will still buy bargain-priced tablets. Missing from the list was Microsoft in spite of the popularity of its Surface Pro products, which start at $900.

IDC said:

“The Surface line is great. But it’s tough to drive volume in the first quarter. Prices of Surface products are fairly high, but Microsoft is in the top five list for tablets with detachable keyboards. The top five for tablets as a whole is a tougher nut to crack given the large slate volumes compared to detachables.”

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Will HMB 2.0 GPUs Show Up This Year?

April 29, 2016 by  
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Our well-placed industry sources have told us that we should not expect to see the HMB 2.0 based GPUs shipping anytime soon. Nvidia Pascal and AMD Polaris 10 / 11 will stick with GDDR5 memory for the time being.

The 2nd generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM 2.0) for high-end GPUs might happen in very late Q4 2016 but realistically it probably won’t ship until 2017 in any volume.

The first card that we expect supporting this feature might be the Greenland, a card that AMD might end up calling Vega. Even according Radeon Technology Group’s official GPU roadmap, Vega / Greenland now look like a 2017 product, or at very best, late 2016 card. Nvidia might make the HBM 2.0 version of the Titan card, but we don’t expect to see a Geforce GTX based on Pascal GPU and HBM 2.0 coming to the market this year.

We managed to talk to some of the memory manufactures and they told us that HBM 2.0 is very limited in supply, and limited supply makes things expensive.

It seems that GPUs of 2016, including the new AMD Polaris and the new Geforce, will be stuck with GDDR5 and in best case scenario with GDDR5X from Micron. The word on the street is that both Geforce GTX based on Pascal and AMD/RTG’s Polaris 10 / Ellesmere and Polaris 11 / Baffin might launch at Computex during last days of May or early June 2016.

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Samsung Shows Off The BGA SSD

April 4, 2016 by  
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During Samsung’s 2016 SSD Forum in Japan, the company took the wraps off its first ever ball-grid array (BGA) solid state disk for mobile devices, the PM971. This particular SSD aims to replace module-based M.2 drives in the 2-in-1 hybrid PC market. The company is claiming it will offer improved thermals, up to 10-percent more battery life and a reduction in vertical storage height for OEMs, product designers and system manufacturers.

The Samsung PM971 built using the company’s Photon controller and runs MLC 3D V-NAND (contrary to the picture above, PC Watch claims it is actually 3-bits per cell). The drive will be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage capacities and will feature sequential reads up to 1,500MB/s, sequential writes up to 600MB/s, random reads up to 190,000 IOPS and random writes up to 150,000 IOPS.In general, SSDs with BGA packaging are considerably smaller than those using the M.2 form factor, and Intel has claimed that using a PCI-E BGA SSD could allow an increase in battery size by around 10-percent compared to using an M.2 2260 SSD (with GPIO using 1.8v power rail instead of 3.3v), lower thermals than M.2 (from BGA ball conduction to motherboard instead of through M.2 mounting screws), and a vertical height savings of 0.5mm to 1.5mm in notebook devices.

The nice thing about BGA SSDs is that they are “complete” storage solutions and integrate NAND flash memory, the NAND controller and DRAM all into a single package. Currently, there are several BGA M.2 form factors being proposed that will make single-chip SSDs a reality sooner than later as the result of a collaboration between HP, Intel, Lenovo, Micron, SanDisk, Seagate and Toshiba. The four BGA SSD packages proposed are Type 1620, Type 2024, Type 2228 and Type 2828, ranging anywhere between 16 x 20 millimeters and 28 x 28 millimeters with up to 2-millimeter vertical height. It is currently unknown whether the Samsung PM971 adopts any of these proposed BGA M.2 standards.

Based on the demonstration at the 2016 Samsung SSD Forum in Japan, the PM971 offers decent performance thanks to a PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface and the company’s new Photon controller. According to the PC Watch website, the drive is physically smaller than an SD card and Samsung expects device manufacturers and OEMs to begin adoption in the second half of 2016 or the first half of 2017.

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Will Razer’s External Graphics Box Fail?

March 30, 2016 by  
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We first saw the Razer Core, an external graphics box that connects to a notebook via Thunderbolt 3 port, back at CES 2016 in January, and today, Razer has finally unveiled a bit more details including the price, availability date and compatibility details.

At the GDC 2016 show in San Francisco, Razer has announced that the Core will be ready in April and have a price of US $499. As expected, it has been only validated on Razer Blade Stealth and the newly introduced Razer Blade 2016 Edition notebooks but as it uses Thunderbolt 3 interface, it should be compatible with any other notebook, as long as manufacturer wants it.

With dimensions set at 105 x 353 x 220mm, the Razer Core is reasonably portable. It comes with a 500W PSU and features four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and Thunderbolt 3 port which is used to connect it to a notebook.

As far as graphics cards support is concerned, Razer says that the Core will work with any AMD Radeon graphics card since Radeon 290 series, including the latest R9 Fury, R9 Nano and Radeon 300 series, as well as pretty much all Nvidia Maxwell GPU based graphics cards since Geforce GTX 750/750 Ti, although we are not sure why would you pair up a US $500 priced box with a US $130 priced graphics cards. The maximum TDP for the graphics card is set at 375W, which means that all dual-GPU solutions are out of the picture, so it will go as far as R9 Fury X or the GTX Titan X.

There aren’t many notebooks that feature a Thunderbolt 3 ports and we have heard before that Thunderbolt 3 might have certain issues with latency, which is probably why other manufacturers like MSI and Alienware, went on with their own proprietary connectors. Of course, Razer probably did the math but we will surely keep a closer eye on it when it ships in April. Both AMD and Nvidia are tweaking their drivers and already have support for external graphics, so it probably will not matter which graphics card you pick.

According to Razer, the Razer Core will be available in April and priced at US $499. Razer is already started taking pre-orders for the Razer Core and offers a US $100 discount in case you buy it with one of their notebooks, Razer Blade 2016 or Blade Stealth.

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MediaTek Shows Off The Helio X25 Chip

March 28, 2016 by  
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MediaTek has told Fudzilla that the Helio X25 SoC is not only real, but that it is a “turbo” version of the Helio X20.

Meizu is expected to be one of the first companies to use the X25. Last year it was also the first to use MTK 6795T for its Meizu MX5 phone. In that case the “T” suffix stood for Turbo. This phone was 200 MHz faster than the standard Helio X10 “non T” version.

In 2016 is that MediaTek decided to use the new Helio X25 name because of a commercial arrangement. MediaTek didn’t mention any of the partners, but confirmed that the CPU and GPU will be faster. They did not mention specific clock speeds. Below is a diagram of the Helio X20, and we assume that the first “eXtreme performance” cluster will get a frequency boost, as well as the GPU.

The Helio X25 will not have any architectural changes, it is just a faster version of X20, just like MTK 6795T was faster version of MTK 6795. According to the company, the Helio X25 will be available in May.

This three cluster Helio X25 SoC has real potential and should be one of the most advanced mobile solutions when it hits the market.The first leaked scores of the Helio X20 suggest great performance, but the X25 should have even better scores. There should be a dozen design wins with Helio X20/ X25 and most of them are yet to be announced. There should be a few announcements for the Helio X25 soon, but at least we do know that now there will be a even faster version of three cluster processor.

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Is The GPU Market Going Down?

March 25, 2016 by  
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The global GPU market has fallen by 20 per cent over the last year.

According to Digitimes it fell to less than 30 million units in 2015 and the outfit suffering most was  AMD. The largest graphics card player Palit Microsystems, which has several brands including Palit and Galaxy, shipped 6.9-7.1 million graphics cards in 2015, down 10 per cent  on year. Asustek Computer shipped 4.5-4.7 million units in 2015, while Colorful shipped 3.9-4.1 million units, and is aiming to raise its shipments by 10 per cent  on year in 2016.

Micro-Star International (MSI) enjoyed healthy graphics card shipments at 3.45-3.55 million in 2015, up 15 per cent  on year, and EVGA, which has tight partnerships with Nvidia, also saw a significant shipment growth, while Gigabyte suffered from a slight drop on year. Sapphire and PowerColor suffered dramatic drops in shipments in 2015.

There are fears that several of the smaller GPU makers could be forced out of the market after AMD gets its act together with the arrival of Zen and Nvidia’s next-generation GPU architectures launch later in 2016.

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iOS Developers Warned About Taking Shortcuts

February 10, 2016 by  
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Slapdash developers have been advised not to use the open source JSPatch method of updating their wares because it is as vulnerable as a soft boiled egg, for various reasons.

It’s FireEye that is giving JSPatch the stink eye and providing the warning that it has rendered over 1,000 applications open to copy and paste theft of photos and other information. And it doesn’t end there.

FireEye’s report said that Remote Hot Patching may sound like a good idea at the time, but it really isn’t. It is so widely used that is has opened up a 1,220-wide iOS application hole in Apple users’ security. A better option, according to the security firm, is to stick with the Apple method, which should provide adequate and timely protection.

“Within the realm of Apple-provided technologies, the way to remediate this situation is to rebuild the application with updated code to fix the bug and submit the newly built app to the App Store for approval,” said FireEye.

“While the review process for updated apps often takes less time than the initial submission review, the process can still be time-consuming and unpredictable, and can cause loss of business if app fixes are not delivered in a timely and controlled manner.

“However, if the original app is embedded with the JSPatch engine, its behaviour can be changed according to the JavaScript code loaded at runtime. This JavaScript file is remotely controlled by the app developer. It is delivered to the app through network communication.”

Let’s not all make this JSPatch’s problem, because presumably it’s developers who are lacking.

FireEye spoke up for the open source security gear while looking down its nose at hackers. “JSPatch is a boon to iOS developers. In the right hands, it can be used to quickly and effectively deploy patches and code updates. But in a non-utopian world like ours, we need to assume that bad actors will leverage this technology for unintended purposes,” the firm said.

“Specifically, if an attacker is able to tamper with the content of a JavaScript file that is eventually loaded by the app, a range of attacks can be successfully performed against an App Store application.

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MediaTek Goes LTE CAT 6 On Low End SoCs

February 8, 2016 by  
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MediaTek appears to be ready to give three more entry level processors LTE Cat 6 so they can mangage a 300 Mbit download and 50 Mbit upload.  We already knew that the high-end deca-core X20 and mainstream eight core P10 were getting LTE Cat 6.

According to the Gizchina website, the company the three new SoCs carry the catchy titles of MT6739, MT6750 and MT6750T. .

The MT6739 will probably replace the MT6735. Both have quad A53 cores but it will mean that the MT6739 will get a Cat 6 upgrade from Cat 4. The MT6739 supports speeds of up to 1.5GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 1280×720 at 60fps resolution, and video decode to 1080p 30fps with H.264 and 13 megapixel camera. This means it is an entry level SoC for phones that might fit into the $100 price range.

The MT6750 and MT6750T look like twins, only the T version supports full HD 1920×1080 displays. The MT6750 has eight cores, four A53 clocked at 1.5Ghz and four A53 clocked at 1.0GHz and is manufactured on TSMC’s new 28nm High Performance Mobile Computing manufacturing mode. This is the same manufacturing process MediaTek is using for the Helio P10 SoC. The new process allows lower leakage and better overall transistor performance at lower voltage.

The MT6750 SoC supports single channel LPDDR3 666MHz and eMCP up to 4GB. The SoC supports eMMC 5.1, 16 megapixel camera, 1080p 30 fps with both H.264 and H.265 decoding. It comes with an upgraded ARM Mali T860 MP2 GPU with 350 MHz and display support of 1280×720 HD720 ready with 60 FPS. This means the biggest upgrade is the Cat 6 upgrade and it makes sense – most of European and American networks now are demanding a Cat 6 or higher modem that supports carrier aggregation.

This new SOc looks like a slowed down version of Helios P10 and should be popular for entry level Android phones.

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Samsung Goes 4GB HBM

February 2, 2016 by  
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Samsung has begun mass producing what it calls the industry’s first 4GB DRAM package based on the second-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) 2 interface.

Samsung’s new HBM solution will be used in high-performance computing (HPC), advanced graphics, network systems and enterprise servers, and is said to offer DRAM performance that is “seven times faster than the current DRAM performance limit”.

This will apparently allow faster responsiveness for high-end computing tasks including parallel computing, graphics rendering and machine learning.

“By mass producing next-generation HBM2 DRAM, we can contribute much more to the rapid adoption of next-generation HPC systems by global IT companies,” said Samsung Electronics’ SVP of memory marketing, Sewon Chun.

“Also, in using our 3D memory technology here, we can more proactively cope with the multifaceted needs of global IT, while at the same time strengthening the foundation for future growth of the DRAM market.”

The 4GB HBM2 DRAM, which uses Samsung’s 20nm process technology and advanced HBM chip design, is specifically aimed at next-generation HPC systems and graphics cards.

“The 4GB HBM2 package is created by stacking a buffer die at the bottom and four 8Gb core dies on top. These are then vertically interconnected by TSV holes and microbumps,” explained Samsung.

“A single 8Gb HBM2 die contains over 5,000 TSV holes, which is more than 36 times that of an 8Gb TSV DDR4 die, offering a dramatic improvement in data transmission performance compared to typical wire-bonding based packages.”

Samsung’s new DRAM package features 256GBps of bandwidth, which is double that of an HBM1 DRAM package. This is equivalent to a more than seven-fold increase over the 36GBps bandwidth of a 4Gb GDDR5 DRAM chip, which has the fastest data speed per pin (9Gbps) among currently manufactured DRAM chips.

The firm’s 4GB HBM2 also enables enhanced power efficiency by doubling the bandwidth per watt over a 4Gb GDDR5-based solution, and embeds error-correcting code functionality to offer high reliability.

Samsung plans to produce an 8GB HBM2 DRAM package this year, and by integrating this into graphics cards the firm believes designers will be able to save more than 95 percent of space compared with using GDDR5 DRAM. This, Samsung said, will “offer more optimal solutions for compact devices that require high-level graphics computing capabilities”.

Samsung will increase production volume of its HBM2 DRAM over the course of the year to meet anticipated growth in market demand for network systems and servers. The firm will also expand its line-up of HBM2 DRAM solutions in a bid to “stay ahead in the high-performance computing market”.

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Is AT&T Facing Pressure?

February 1, 2016 by  
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AT&T has announced aggressive discounts on new smartphones and devices, including a 2-for-1 smartphone offer for business customers.

A big focus of the AT&T discounts is special deals on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and Gear S2 smartwatches. Analysts interpreted that focus on Samsung devices as a way to clear out inventory prior to expected upgrade announcements coming in late February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

AT&T is also facing pressure to add more subscribers, as analysts — including Evercore ISI this week– have predicted AT&T’s fourth-quarter postpaid subscriber loss will be more than 300,000. That comes amid reports that T-Mobile added 4.5 million net subscribers for the fourth quarter and Verizon Wireless added 525,000.

All the major carriers, including AT&T, hit the December holidays with special device deals, but AT&T apparently didn’t feel enough impact on its inventory from those offers, analysts said.

AT&T and Samsung are motivated to get rid of all the old inventory before new models arrive, said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “Retailers won’t run such an aggressive promotion unless they have a lot of stock.”

An AT&T spokeswoman provided a different explanation: “Due to popular demand, AT&T is bringing back some of its holiday promos.”

Those promos — available to both consumers and business customers at AT&T retail stores — include a free Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch for a limited time to any customer buying a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, or a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 for buying a Galaxy smartphone on an AT&T Next wireless plan. AT&T is also offering an iPad mini 2 for $99 when a customer buys a new iPhone on the Next plan.

For business customers, the 2-for-1 smartphone deal is new. It allows business customers to buy a new smartphone and then get another smartphone, valued at up to $650, for free.

Source-http://www.thegurureview.net/mobile-category/att-facing-pressure-offers-aggressive-smartphone-discounts.html